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Election 2012: Predictions

By on Nov 9, 2010 in Featured, News, Politics | 0 comments

Last week, the curtain closed on the 2010 election season. It mostly goes without saying that it’s been a a pretty wild midterm season (even though I just said it…), thanks primarily to the Tea Party insurgency. Utah wasn’t left out of the fun, either, despite becoming even more of a one-party state. Thankfully, for political junkies, that one party has a few sub-parties, most of them trying to out-conservative each other. Enough rambling, eh? After all, what I promised was predictions for 2012. A disclaimer: These are predictions made from my gut, which means I have not asked any of the politicians if they predictions pass the “sane” test. Frankly, most of them probably don’t, which makes them fun. After all, if I simply said that every incumbent is going to run for the same office, would you want to read any further? No. Okay, the predictions: U.S. Senate: Jason Chaffetz vs. Jim Matheson. This isn’t a crazy suggestion, especially with Chaffetz. He may not be committing to run against Sen. Orrin Hatch, but he is certainly not denying it. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hatch doesn’t even run, but chooses to retire rather than face the same fate as Sen. Bob Bennett. As for Matheson, I think two things happen to push him towards the Senate. First, the next two years will be tough for him in the House. He’s lost many of his Blue Dog friends and the Republicans are going to corner to “fiscal conservative” market, basically leaving Matheson in a congressional limbo. Second, redistricting Republicans could try to make Matheson’s district more conservative, or even push him into the new 4th District. His response will be to try to beat them in a statewide race, which he very well could do. Chaffetz still wins, but it’s very close. U.S. House, District 2: Morgan Philpot vs. ????. If indeed this district does get more conservative in redistricting, it would do so by having less Salt Lake County. Philpot earned his stripes among party faithful with his campaign this year, and while an open seat would bring out a dozen Republicans, Philpot will have the groundwork in place to win this seat. As for the Democrats, I’d love to say that they will have a legitimate heir for Matheson, but who? U.S. House, District 3: Gary Herbert vs. Steve Urquhart: In redistricting, this district picks up Washington County so as to carve more of Utah County and southern Salt Lake County into District 2. Chaffetz’s jump to the Senate opens this seat, and multiple Republicans will jump in. Herbert joins the fray, surprising everyone who expects him to run for another term as governor. But as with all governors, he dreams of Washington, D.C., and 2012 is his best shot. Urquhart has been chomping at the federal bit for years, and this gives him a shot. Herbert wins in a primary, which (of course) means he wins the seat. U.S. House, District 4: Peter Corroon vs. Josh Romney: I’ve said for months that Corroon’s gubernatorial bid was really a dry run for a U.S. House seat, and although he lost a lot of goodwill with his late negative tactics, he solidified his credentials as the No. 2 Donkey (Matheson being No. 1) with the Democratic base. Frankly, most Democrats were happy just to see one of their candidates actually throwing punches. Oh, and he proved he could raise serious cash. That makes him nearly a lock for the party’s nomination in the 4th District, which will be as close to a “Democrat friendly” seat as possible. Most likely, it incorporates a good chunk of eastside Salt Lake County and heads northeast, capturing Summit County and most of the Uinta Basin. As for Josh Romney, who lives in the Millcreek area, the possibility of being on a ballot headed by Mitt Romney for President would be very attractive. It would also make Josh Romney pretty much unbeatable, meaning that the Republicans would, once again, have all of the federal seats in Utah. Governor: John Valentine vs. Ralph Becker: With Herbert out, all of those would-be challengers become legitimate candidates. I think Valentine wins in a primary against a much more conservative opponent. He’s well-funded and likable, making him popular with moderate Republicans. As for Becker, well, who else? Becker at least has a recognizable name, experience at the state level, an ability to fundraise and executive experience. Plus, in 2012 he can run for governor without risking his position as mayor because he would run for re-election in SLC in 2011. Valentine would win, but at least Becker would make him work. Attorney General: Mark Shurtleff vs. Sim Gill: Shurtleff flirts with both the governor and Senate races, but in the end stays the course. Gill runs with two years under his belt as Salt Lake County District Attorney. He also runs the same campaign he ran against Lohra Miller, which is essentially one of ethical superiority. On a state level, however, it flops, and Shurtleff wins...

Six Pack on the Dashboard

By on Oct 8, 2010 in News, Politics | 0 comments

Above the Fold Ale: The Mormons are getting hit from the right and the left. As covered by every legitimate news outlet in the city today, thousands of protestors marched around Temple Square Thursday night to protest the speech made during last weekend’s LDS General Conference by President Boyd K. [Korn] Packer. Here’s the Trib’s coverage. The story isn’t ending, however. Associated Press’ Jennifer Dobner reports that national leaders from the Human Rights Campaign will hand-deliver 100,000 letters to the LDS Church that demand that Packer’s statements be retracted. And … the LDS Church has actually retracted some of those statements. According to the Trib’s Peggy Fletcher Stack, the text of Packer’s speech has been amended to remove the reference to God not making a “mistake” like creating gay people. From the other side, the Mormons are getting hit by conservative Christians. This week, the pastor for the church where Sharron Angle goes to church in Reno called Mormons a “cult” and basically a religion of freaks and nut jobs. He did so using many well-worn anecdotes, from their magic underwear to secretive ceremonies. He also did so as a direct attack on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Mormon. What amazes me is that if this race were in Utah, Angle would still win — maybe because she her hate of Muslims balances things out. Finally, a reminder that the Open Container’s civility policy prohibits me from mentioning any of the stories reported by the Mormon Media Empire. Thus, I will not link to the absurdly, blatantly, nakedly and offensively unbalanced story printed in their print product. I will, however, give this advice: If you’re not one of their unquestioning flock, stop reading, watching or listening to anything owned by the LDS Church. If you do, don’t start squawking about journalistic integrity or the such, because the Mormon Media operation is not a legitimate journalistic endeavor. It’s like complaining about the ethics of the PR folks writing your company newsletter. Political Pocket Rockets: A rally is scheduled for Saturday afternoon to garner support for Morgan Philpot. Salt Lake County politics is getting fun again, with the county donkeys filing a suit with the Utah Supreme Court about campaign finance laws. Speaking of gay issues, Orlando Weekly has an interesting piece about the Log Cabin Republicans that asks the eternal question: why? Finally, former Gov. Jon Huntsman buys a home in Washington, D.C. for $3.6 million. That’s a chunk of change, considering his last home in Utah is currently on the market for less than a $100,000. Utah Beer: West High is celebrating homecoming. Go, Panthers, Go! (That’s for my wife, by the way). More drilling coming to Eastern Utah. Salt Lake City Council is struggling to figure out what to do with the Parley’s Nature Park. Leisure Time Lager: It’s Friday, so here’s a little piece about quitting your job. Follow that with one of the best cover letters ever, written by Hunter S. Thompson. Josh’s Java: Researchers are still looking for explanations for the colony collapse disorder. Meanwhile, batters are trying to figure out Tim Lincecum. I would love to see a Game 7 NLCS match-up between Roy Halladay and Lincecum. Weekly Weizen: Tonight there a live reading of HOWL. Scott Renshaw reviews It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Tomorrow at Liberty Park is the Cooler World Music Festival. Dan Nailen highlights two local bands having CD releases this weekend. Finally, watch the Salt Blog tomorrow for my weekly “Hop N’ Bop” post. The Six Pack on the Dashboard update is published every weekday. To subscribe to an e-mail version, send a message to For an RSS feed of the Open Container and all of the other City Weekly blog posts, visit the Salt Blog at...

Six Pack on the Dashboard

By on Sep 28, 2010 in News, Politics | 0 comments

Above the Fold Ale: As long as I’ve covered government agencies, officials have been trying to find ways to skirt the Open Meetings Act and the Government Access and Records Management Aca (GRAMA). Sometimes, the moves were blatantly illegal, such as a city council trying to meet behind closed doors when the matter was clearly public. Other times, the methods were more devious, such as “random” encounters between 3 or 4 city council members at a cafe. Officials also tried to skirt the law with new technology, ranging from e-mail to text messages, and I can only imagine what will happen when elected leaders figure out how to direct message on Twitter. This weekend, BYU professor Joel Campbell—now writing for The Salt Lake Tribune as an open records guru — detailed a new proposal from the Utah Judicial Council that would allow certain records to reviewed in private before a public body talked about them publicly. Courts administrator Nancy Volmer tells Campbell that the exemption would be used “rarely” but was needed. Quick tip: When anybody in government says that an exemption will be used “rarely,” start a pool for how long it will take for said exemption to be abused magnificently. For the most recent example, look to UDOT, whose exemption from having to get settlements over $500,000 approved allowed them to “quietly” settle with a construction for $13 million. Magnificent. Now, I’m not saying Volmer doesn’t believe in the “rarely” statement, or that the courts will abuse it. But if there’s a new exemption, somebody somewhere will abuse it. But here’s the really scary part: They will probably get away with it, because more than likely, nobody will watchdogging those government officials. Political Pocket Rockets: Morgan Philpot, you’ve already stuck your toe into the birther water. Please don’t start espousing even more crazy conspiracy theories. One gubernatorial candidate wants donations to charities, not politicians. If you’re bored, Robert Gehrke posted all of the documents the Corroon campaign has been demanding Herbert’s camp release about meetings with donors. Or, don’t read them and continue to demand they be released. Also, watch the Corroon-Herbert debate at 8 p.m. tonight on KUED. Utah Beer: UDOT=Kingpin, but not for long. If UDOT were an NFL team and John Njord a kicker, he would be looking for work. I don’t want to turn this blog post’s comment board into a debate about pit bulls, but let’s just say I never, ever want my child around one. So, kudos to Ogden. Utah’s air is getting better, which is kinda like saying Domino’s new crust is awesome. Better, maybe. But not good. Leisure Time Lager: Here’s a nice little ode to a Laramie bar. Josh’s Java: I would love to be a farmer, and here’s yet another inspiring story. My garden failures this year, however, suggest I should stay working as a writer. Weekly Weizen: Vernon Law and the 1960 Pirates is profiled in a new (and apparently very bad — we’re talking Pirates bad) book. Gilgal Gardens has been public for 10 years. Finally, The Ocho gives highlights for the Alice Cooper/Rob Zombie show. The Six Pack on the Dashboard update is published every weekday morning. To subscribe to an e-mail version, send a message to, or send a direct message on Twitter to @joshloftin. For an RSS feed of the Open Container and all of the other City Weekly blog posts, visit the Salt Blog at...